Panama City Title Agent Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud and Conspiracy Charges
PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – Patricia Lynn Smith, 55, of Panama City Beach, pled guilty today to six felony counts, including one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and/or mail fraud affecting a financial institution and five counts of bank fraud. The guilty plea was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Smith pled guilty surrounding conduct she engaged in while she was the manager of Northwest Florida Title Services. Smith participated in a scheme to defraud and obtain money and/or property by fraudulent means from the federally insured financial institutions Bank of America, First Tennessee Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank, MetLife Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank. As a part of the scheme, Smith signed HUD-1 forms and caused them to be submitted to these financial institutions. The forms falsely claimed buyers were providing cash to purchase residences located in Panama City Beach and elsewhere, when this money was actually coming from a third party. During the course of the scheme, mortgage loans totaling in excess of $6 million on at least 18 pieces of real property were closed by Smith and Northwest Florida Title Services.
On each count, Smith faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, a maximum of a $1 million fine, and restitution. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on March 30, 2017.
The case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General, Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access available public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.
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